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Focal points of Argos offence enjoy relaxing day before Grey Cup

Toronto Argonauts Walter Spencer interviews his teammate Chad Owens (2) during a practice ahead of the 100th Grey Cup in Toronto, November 24, 2012.

MATHIEU BELANGER/REUTERS

They take pictures of each other, they joke around, a few footballs are thrown around but not with any conviction.

It's walk-through day, which means all the preparation for the 100th Grey Cup is over, all that's left now is to actually play.

"It's the easiest day of the season," Toronto Argonauts receiver Chad Owens said after his team's final on-field practice session of the year.

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The Flyin' Hawaiian is a pretty excitable sort - his kind of intensity doesn't lend itself to waiting graciously - but professed to being serene and relaxed on Saturday.

"I never really start to feel that thing inside me until I get to the stadium before the game," Owens said. "Then it starts to build."

It will please Argos fans to hear Owens is making sure to conserve his energy for Sunday's championship, after all the slick-running 30-year-old should have a major say in the outcome.

Owens racked up 207 yards receiving in the East Final and over 100 more on kick returns. The CFL's most outstanding player for 2012 will be the focal point for the Toronto offence, and the biggest worry for the Calgary Stampeder defence.

But for now, he's taking it easy, a condition that comes naturally to a guy who has no superstitions to speak of.

"I don't really have any rituals or anything like that, I just do what feels good on that day," he said.

That kind of zen vibe permeated the rest of the squad on Saturday - many players showed up for the public portion of their walk-through wearing jeans - as the focus shifts to Sunday.

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Running back Chad Kackert, an unsung but nevertheless crucial player for the Argos, said he's intent on soaking up the atmosphere of Grey Cup week, if only for a few hours.

"It's great to have a home atmosphere like this, people scratching around to get tickets, paying two or three times the price just to get in here [Sunday]," he said.

Kackert played in the NCAA Division 1-AA playoffs at the University of New Hampshire, but said there's no real comparison to what he's gone through this week.

"It's been a long season, 21 or 22 weeks or whatever, but this is the best part, it's special, it's almost like a weight off your shoulders," he said.

Like Owens, Kackert is doing his best to relax, like Owens he isn't particularly wedded to habit or routine.

"It feels like I haven't played a night game in a while," he said. "But I'm not doing anything special to prepare, I don't light special candles or anything like that."

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Kackert scored a pivotal touchdown in last week's game in Montreal, piling up 139 yards rushing.

While he's small by pro football standards - like Owens, he's about five-foot-eight - he'll play a big part in protecting Toronto quarterback Ricky Ray from blitzes, and can be expected to shoulder a significant offensive load on Sunday.

And that's just how he wants it.

"I can't wait," he said.

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About the Author
National Correspondent

Sean Gordon joined the Globe's Quebec bureau in 2008 and covers the Canadiens, Alouettes and Impact, as well as Quebec's contingent of Olympic athletes. More

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